TA Zero Alpha 3b

It's now been just under two months since we launched this website and released the last version of the mod, and since that time we've had almost 30,000 views from over 5,000 unique visitors from 85 countries. Hopefully the eventual addition of T2 units with Alpha 4 will really get an online scene going, but today we have for you version Alpha 3b, the newest release of Total Annihilation Zero.

Naval gameplay has been improved with balancing adjustments, the removal of amphibiousness for kbots, and the addition of some new units (which were previewed earlier this week). New AI enhancement techniques have been implemented and the mod has also undergone some massive technical enhancements, such as dramatically enhanced pathfinding, improved smoke and damage effects, and customization of data structure, dlls, ini, registry entry, and savegame format, making TA Zero fully conflict-free with TA and any possible mod, unit pack, hack, or patch. The full changelog for Alpha 3b weighs in at 96 entries and you can read it at the Version History page.

A new Controls page has been added featuring a comprehensive list of the controls, commands, and cheats in TA Zero. Even TA veterans might want to look over it as we've changed and added a lot of things for TA Zero. In addition, the Installation page, FAQ page, Features page, and unit guides have all been updated to reflect the changes in Alpha 3b.

Download TA Zero Alpha 3b Here!

Don't forget to visit the official discussion thread.

We'll also be taking a break from T2 unit previews and don't know when we'll be resuming them, but you can subscribe to this news page and get notified whenever there's a new post, ensuring that you don't miss any updates or releases.

Finally, just how much of an improvement in pathfinding does Alpha 3b bring over the original TA pathfinding used in Alpha 3? See for yourself:

36 comments on TA Zero Alpha 3b

  • TA_player

    *improvement in pathfinding*

    Any changes to the system requirements therefore?

  • Dri

    Wow, AI pathfinding is HUGE! Playing massive games always used to become downright painful once lots of units got out and made wreakage fields a nightmare…

    I was always told it wasn’t possible to improve the pathing, awesome job finally figuring it out!

  • N72

    TA_player: Yes and no. There is basically no change to system requirements when there are low numbers or medium numbers of moving units in-game. When there are very high number of moving units, there is an increase in CPU requirements, however the impact is not significant on modern CPUs. The main cause of noticeable slowdowns in huge matches is still rendering and animating TA Zero's more complex units, while the increased pathfinding only plays a small part. Besides, previously large matches were basically unplayable, so the small increase in requirements for large matches is basically irrelevant. With that being said, there is now a TAZero.ini advanced configuration file included with the game which allows you to edit the pathfinding setting if you want, though it is recommended to leave it at the default value.

  • TA_player

    Firstly, awesome work with pathfinding. Now Zero is not just another TA mod with fancy new units and still dump AI.

    Secondly, still have a strange bug. At the some moment most (10-99%) of the trees and rocks becomes indestructible/irreclaimable, гтшеы no longer leave the corpses behind. Is the maximum number of corpses is limited?

  • N72

    Yes, there is a limit to the amount of corpses/features in a TA match, and this limit is more easily reached in TA Zero because wrecks cannot be fully destroyed, only reduced to rubble (except Arm Marine wrecks). We will investigate increasing this limit in future versions. As for the indestructible features issue, this is something we haven't seen before.

    Please describe the circumstances of this issue (when it occurs, the details about the match, etc.). The most helpful thing you can do is to upload an affected savegame so that we can examine it (you can create a thread on our forum and attach the save file to the post).

  • TA_player

    note: all dead trees can be destroyed as usual.

  • Dri

    All the models done so far are impressive but it looks like you’ve run out of new ones to post, eh? Oh well, even though I hate it, it looks like its back to the waiting game. Can’t wait for T2 to release >_<

  • TA_player

    Can you show us a unit structure concept of Zero? It is hard to imagine how will be realized a units diversity because of such uneconomical use of weapon IDs. But If you know how to increase the IDs amount then no prob.

    And one more, where will be no annihilator-like cannons in Zero as you said. IMO it is hard to imagine TA without it.

  • Weapon IDs and other such technical limitations have been taken into account when designing what kind of amounts of what kind of units will there be available at different tiers of factories. About half of the weapon IDs are already used, but those include lots of technical stuff which will be shared by all tiers of units and explosions of big units that aren’t being used by T1 but are included already anyway. T2 will have approximately as many units as T1 at the end, but there won’t be but few T3 mobile units and propably no T3 structures at all apart from factories, so we won’t run out of IDs at any point.

    There won’t be anything like Annihilator for Arm atleast since I’ve decided to keep laser weapons exclusive to Core, but T2 heavy railgun turret will be much similar in practice.

  • N72

    Also, we do in fact know how to increase the weapon ID limit, we simply haven't done that yet because there is no need right now. But we can increase both unit and weapon ID limits so there is no need to worry about that.

    I've looked at the issues you brought up earlier with your savegame. As I said, we will look into the feature limit which is the cause of units not leaving corpses.

    However, the other issue is due to some sort of death animation limit. You may have noticed that after a certain point, unit explosion animations are dropped (though weapon explosions are not), this is the cause of the invincible tree bug. If a unit dies and the death animation is dropped, it doesn't matter, but if a tree dies and the death animation (either explode or reclaim) is dropped, it blocks the action from completing. Meanwhile, you will notice that you are always able to reclaim unit corpses – this is because corpses do not have any sort of death animation. Anyway, so that's the problem, we will try to find a way to raise the death animation limit which should fix this engine bug.

  • TA_player

    *but if a tree dies and the death animation (either explode or reclaim) is dropped, it blocks the action from completing* – I suspected something like this.
    Hope we will see next release soon. Best regards.

  • Bieberle4

    i am new to TAZero, and i dont know if the game develpment has slowed or stopped, or you guys are working without putting up updates. i just dont know. hopefully the latter because i love this game/mod. hope to see a update soon :D

  • Development has not stopped. We just happen to not have anything to announce at the moment. N72 has been working on the TA v4.0 unofficial patch and its installer and autoupdater, while I’ve been mostly just taking a break. Once that TA v4.0 patch is done we will release Alpha 3c patch for TA Zero.

    Recent streak of T2 unit previews was only possible because I had started making the models already during last summer. There are still several T2 ground unit models missing and none of the wreck models have been done yet. All those need to be finished before I can actually start implementing T2 into game. More T2 previews once I get the models done.

  • sith

    this mods cool but how come it has to be that size. ik its so no crash but y does it crash. id like to seethe stuff up close but from way up in the atmospehere to hard to see allt he cool details

  • Only some of the units would look better in closer view, and most of them are at their best when seen from the in game angle and zoom. Generally the textures used are so small that they would turn into pixelated mess in closer look, and low polygon counts of models would be really obtrusive.

    Ignoring any visual defects, T1 units could of course be larger, but there are limits to how far one can go in unit sizes in TA in any practical way. I want upcoming higher tier units to be comparatively larger without making their footprints so wide that they would become incapable of moving around without issues.

    Also, what is crashing?

  • Dri

    Hey, when the next release comes out are you gonna bundle all your maps in it too? Along with the needed features? That’d be great to get all your amazing maps plus TA Zero in one go.

  • Alpha 3c will be released as soon as that TA v4.0 patch is ready. New maps will be released along Alpha 3c and required features added to TA Features 2012 which (afaik) will be released along TA v4.0 patch.

  • TA_player

    I suppose T2 units isnt completd yet?

  • I'm almost done with T2 ground unit and structure models. Wreck models are already under work, but only about 20% of them are done, so there's a lot of work to do before I can actually get to adding them into game and scripting them.

  • Dri

    Yikes, any idea when the previews are gonna start again? This thing started out strong and then BOOM, months worth of hiatus. >_<

  • Well, at first the hiatus was about me running out of models to show or that I didn’t yet have equivalent units done for all factions. There were several troublesome units/concepts that I didn’t really know what to do with, which caused a long break in modeling. Issue was eventually resolved with me taking a new approach on the subject, modeling some less conventional units and then proceeding to making some new maps, but ever since I’ve been busy rebuilding the roof of our house and haven’t been able to finish rest of the necessary T2 models. There is just a few missing and around 1/3 of wreck models have been done already.

    N72 has been really busy as well, which has delayed finishing TA v4.0 and TA Zero Alpha 3c patches.

  • Dri

    Ah, well, thanks for the update Voh. Hope you get your roof fixed up and can enjoy some free time soon!

    Same for N72! TA v4.0 and its pathing fix is gonna be great!

  • TA_player

    Sssooooo…, anything about T2 arcrafts?

  • I’ll get to designing T2 air units once fundamental T2 ground units and structures are in game. I do have some ideas for them though.

  • TA_player

    i understand it’s too early now but do you ever thought about heavy hovercraft units in Zero? It always lacked in TA IMO.

  • Dri

    Sweet jeebus. Hows it going, Voh?

    Hope to hear something from you are N72 soon! Maybe some goodies tomorrow in celebration of Planetary Annihilation having a super successful Kickstarter?! :D

  • N72

    Work has been progressing lately. T2 units are now being put in-game, starting with buildings. As soon as the v3.9.02 beta patch is released we should have more updates to post.

  • Gryphon22

    Just tried this mod out and I am impressed! I have played TA since it came out back in 1997 and I have been playing TA: Twilight/Absolute Annihilation for a few years now. This mod is hands-down the most ambitious one I have played by far. I am loving the restructuring of the factions from the ground up. Absolutely cannot wait for T2 to be released! You have a new fan N72. Fantastic work!

  • I’m mostly done with T2 ground units and structures at the moment, but there are still some units to add and some work to do before releasing Alpha 4 can be considered. Finishing the stuff will take a while, and possibly much longer if we decide to include some T2 aircraft in the initial Alpha 4 release. There’s a bunch of screenshots and random information available about upcoming T2 units and maps on the forums. You might want to take a look if you haven’t already.

    Meanwhile, we will release Alpha 3c patch as soon as N72 gets his hurries out of way. There’s a bunch of bug fixes and new features coming in addition to floating variants of missile turrets. Two new maps and updated versions of all the older maps made for TA Zero will also be released in conjuction with Alpha 3c.

  • Gryphon22

    That’s awesome to hear! Sounds like the next patch will be great. All of the work done so far has been marvelous. I am extremely impressed with the pathfinding fixes. There were so many times where the old pathfinding would hinder the gameplay.

    The new models and textures are very well done. I didn’t think the engine would be able to handle the upgrades you’ve done. Another thing that I loved was the changes you made to the Commander’s weapons. Even though I was cursing at him it was awesome seeing the Core commander destroy my units with that rapid fire laser.

    You two are doing great! I haven’t been this excited about a TA mod in a very long time!

  • TA_player

    By the way, i must to point out that i am not completely satisfied with Arm and GOK commander rapid fire weapons. Better to say the weapons are not as powerful as whey need. IMO +35% of damage is make sense.

  • N72

    Compared to the Core Commander's main laser, the Arm and GoK Commanders' main weapon is indeed weak, however their special abilities are obviously more impressive than the Core Commander's. With only T1 units in the game, it may seem a bit unbalanced towards the Core Commander's favor, but once higher tiers are in-game you will probably have more appreciation for the Arm Commander's ability to destroy any unit for a small energy cost or the GoK Commander's ability to stun an entire group of enemies and take out specific targets with his sword (keep in mind TA Zero's cheap cloaking costs which benefit Arm and GoK Commanders a lot). Of course, if we see that after T2 units are included there are balancing problems with the Commanders, they can be adjusted, but at this point it doesn't make sense to make any balancing changes that only take T1 into account.

  • TA_player

    *Arm Commander’s ability to destroy any unit for a small energy cost or the GoK Commander’s ability to stun an entire group of enemies and take out specific targets with his sword* – yes but this works in close combat only. You will need to approach to enemy units first and that is a problem.

  • That then would be why TA Zero’s cheaper cloaking cost was brought up. Using commanders’ cloaking will be even more commonplace once T2 is available people will have both reason and capability to build much greater energy production.

  • TA_player

    How about to refresh main page? One unit preview per week?

  • We intend to start previews again as soon as Alpha 3c patch has been released, which I was hoping to have happened atleast a month ago. At this point ridiculously long delays like this should be no surprise to anyone.